Forks are laid to rest while fasting takes its grip.
When gnawing resumes,copious meat’s inhaled.
Cars idle as the bags are packed,
stuffed full of towels, sweatsuits, and headbands.
Then in gridlocked traffic,
fists clench wheels
and grumblings ensue.
The metal race begins,
each driver battling for the perfect parking spot
so they can lay claim to the fastest stationed bike
or oiled treadmill.
Paths are forged in a forest,
but in American comfort we rip down trees,
paving the earth
to build facilities rather than utilize the terrain God created for balanced health.
In a society obsessed with organic,
we’ve processed our fitness and meals.
We lift fashioned weights
while wood isn’t chopped for winter’s store,
water isn’t hauled for summer’s reserve,
and soil isn’t turned for spring’s planting or fall’s harvest.
We run in place with buds in our ears,
plastering selfies of gym attendance,
while our children are commissioned out for supervision and supervising
in a plastic filled bubble.
Conversations are wrought with anxiety and fear.
We can’t pay the mortgage
but our membership fees aren’t skipped.
Our Judaeo-Christian based origins were supposed to be radical,
momentum for love, sacrifice, and charity.
Idolatry, like usual, has bested us.
We love ourselves,
posting our achievements in a search for public recognition, fame, and applause.
We sacrifice our time with others to squeeze in personal body sculpting.
We hoard our dividends, fearful we won’t have enough for our own indulgences.
Individuality has resulted in conformity,
each person driven to look the best
rather than feel and change the world for the better.
Men and women walk around stressed.
We think we’re enlightened,
but we’ve snuffed out the light.
We no longer work to sustain daily bread,
but rather toil away for new gadgets and games.
When will we stop burning the wick,
finding rest in some silence?
When will we realize community’s fellowship is in working to put food on the table,
not cash for a convenience purchase,
but the work of dirt under nails?
Finally recognizing the planting and sowing of a supper’s bounty
is from the hands of God who provides
in seasons of drought and precipitation.
Let us stop manufacturing tools to mold the body and
scripting media to form human relationships.
Break bread you have baked from wheat fields personally harvested
and watch muscles bulge from the products of manual labor,
the labor that actually puts roofs over your head, food in your belly, and a fire in the hearth.
*Now I realize sin and idolatry can crop up in a return to simplicity too. I’m just aghast at the number of gyms we have built and the food we’ve stocked on our shelves.
God has given us a vast array of natural paths to meander. There is also a large supply of wild edibles. Today, we don’t know how to find food unless it is in appealing packaging and put on a store’s shelf. I know that processed food has helped to alleviate hunger. When we are dependent on seasons for crop growth, we can suffer the feeling of an empty belly. However, maybe we wouldn’t hoard and observe morbid obesity skyrocketing in this country if we were more self-reliant (or truthfully, God-reliant) for our nutritive means.
We are also paying to exercise when we could simply go outside for a jog, build muscles by sowing and reaping food from a garden, carrying and/or playing with our kids, or warming our houses by shoveling pellets or chopping down wood.
We also think that we are far more connected in community through screens, but in reality, we are putting up shields from real and authentic community. We’re loosing a valuable asset of fellowship: vulnerability. Here, in the digital web, we can spin whatever image of ourselves we want, hiding true thought. So much language is lost when the physical body is removed. Many conversations go misunderstood by being misconstrued.
I sit baffled. I’m not faultless by any means. There is sin in simplicity too. I recognize the underpinnings of pride as I judge surplus and excess. The proper balance hasn’t materialized. To that end, I apologize. [Anyone who knows me would realize the irony in yet another “sorry”.]
Yet, there is a freedom from minimalism. Removing clutter, we can be filled with more time for God and authentic relationships. Appreciating manual labor and simply being active can provide the means for healthy bodies, rather than the imagined health gleaned from controlled environments of exercise.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. What have your experiences been? Do you find it absurd that we deplete our bank accounts to pay for stuff provided for us in nature by God, our Jehovah-Jireh?